Author Archives: Scott Hershberger

A 19th-century math discussion board

To conclude my first JMM, I stopped by the AMS Special Session on History of Mathematics to hear a talk on “A New Resource for the History of Mathematics: The Educational Times Online Database of Mathematical Questions and Answers.”  Published … Continue reading

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The math of blue whales’ migration patterns

Blue whales, the largest creatures ever to roam the Earth, are highly migratory animals. Each summer, they travel northward along the California coast to forage krill. Then in the fall, they return to the southern breeding grounds where they pass … Continue reading

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The National Science Foundation and the mathematical sciences

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a discussion on the future of the National Science Foundation and how the mathematical sciences fit in. We heard from Karen Marrongelle, head of NSF’s Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR), and Tie Luo, acting … Continue reading

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Did Bartók use Fibonacci numbers in his music?

I love math, and I love music. I’ve played piano since I was 6 and composed music since middle school. So when I was planning my week at the JMM, I knew I had to attend the MAA Contributed Paper … Continue reading

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Modeling of viral zoonotic infectious diseases from wildlife to humans

The COVID-19 pandemic has made painfully clear the importance of studying zoonotic diseases, infectious diseases that are passed from animals to humans. Today, Linda Allen, a mathematical biologist at Texas Tech University, gave an AMS-MAA Invited Address on how mathematical … Continue reading

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Encouraging women in mathematics through an interdisciplinary course

In all her time studying math as an undergraduate, Jacqueline Dewar never heard about any woman who had made important contributions to math. The first time she encountered a woman mathematician in the curriculum was when Emmy Noether was mentioned … Continue reading

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Social distancing in Catan and on the chessboard

This afternoon, I dropped by the MAA Contributed Paper Session on Recreational Mathematics: Puzzles, Card Tricks, Games, and Gambling. The first two talks focused on the board game Catan and chess, taking inspiration from social distancing in a way only … Continue reading

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Treating diseases by steering evolution with ideas from physics

When physicians attempt to use targeted therapy against bacterial infections and cancer, one of the greatest challenges they face is the rapid evolution of the disease to resist treatment. I attended a fascinating talk yesterday afternoon about a novel approach … Continue reading

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Math outreach in Panama during the pandemic

To kick off my time at the JMM, I attended Jeanette Shakalli’s talk on math outreach in Panama during the pandemic. Shakalli is the executive director of the Panamanian Foundation for the Promotion of Mathematics (FUNDAPROMAT for short), a private … Continue reading

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